People Ditching Print Media, Spending More Time On Phones, Internet

    December 13, 2011
    Josh Wolford

According to research firm eMarketer, it has finally happened. U.S. Adults are officially spending more time on their smartphones than they are reading newspapers and magazines combined.

This year’s figures show that the average adult is spending an hour and five minutes on their mobile device, but only 26 minutes reading a newspaper and an even less amount of time reading magazines (18 minutes). Combined, traditional print media is taking up 44 minutes of your day, a full 21 minutes less than mobile activities.

Time spent on mobile devices is up a whopping 30% from last year. Generic “internet” time is also up, 7.7% to be exact from two hours and 35 minutes to two hours and 47 minutes.

TV and video still rules the average adult’s day, however. Despite a small drop from 2009 to 2010, time spent watching the tube increased from 264 minutes to 274 minutes in 2011.

It’s important to note that the “time spent doing X” data is not exclusive to X. “Time spent with each medium also includes all time spent with that medium, regardless of multitasking, so an hour of watching TV while simultaneously on the internet is considered an hour of each activity.” So the rise of time spent online could have something to do with the rise in time spent on mobile devices, and vice versa.

So what do we take from this? Really, this confirms the general notion that print media is falling off a bit. Of course, mobile time increasing doesn’t necessarily mean that people are forgoing the news to play Angry Birds all day. Mobile and internet use increases probably means that people are just choosing to get their news online.

It is also interesting to see the TV and video usage rise this year. Since the eMarketer data limited this to a “traditional television set,” this could mean that fears about everyone “cutting the cable cord” could be unjustified. Or, this rise could be attributed to increases in streaming video services’ availability, like Netflix and Hulu on Xbox and PS3 consoles.

Another interesting find from the study concerned ad dollars. Most of the U.S. ad spending shares correlate almost perfectly with the percentage of time the average adult spends on the specific media. For instance, TV takes up 42.5% of the average adult’s day, and it receives 42.2% of the ad dollars.

The only discrepancy is when you look at ad dollars spent on mobile and print. I’ll let you take a took for yourself, but it appears that ad spending might be a little behind the times.

While print is clearly not “dead,” this data confirms that people are moving in the opposite direction. Have you noticed that your mobile and internet consumption has cut into your print media consumption? Let us know in the comments.


Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf